THE superior in Thailand has been described as unquestioned and domineering. Inferiors stand in awe of (fy-eng) the superior. Yet, the superior is expected to act to his inferiors in a concerned and benevolent fashion. He should aid his inferiors yet not dominate them to such an extent as to destroy their sense of autonomy. In this paper I shall extend previous discussions of Thai superior-inferior behavior by showing the compatibility of the Thai concepts of benevolence and awe. This sense of awe felt towards a superior permits him to undertake actions considered benevolent by his inferiors. To illustrate this situation I shall describe certain types of contact that occurred between rural Thai officials, as superiors, and villagers as their inferiors.

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